Namibia's Rugby World Cup preparations entered the final straight this week as a 38-man squad left for Durban on Tuesday to attend a high intensity camp ahead of next month's World Cup in Japan.
According to a press release issued by the Namibia Rugby Union, national coach Phil Davies has split the preliminary 50-man training squad into two groups - the 38-man squad that left for Durban and the 'Kaizen Group' of 11 players who will remain in Windhoek and continue working at the NRU's high performance centre.
"We have split the training squad into two categories in order to give ourselves the best opportunity and extended time to select Namibia's strongest squad for Japan," Namibia's head coach Phil Davies said.
The Kaizen group will remain in contention for places in Namibia's final World Cup squad of 31 players that will be announced on 2 September.
The NRU also announced that Namibia will play a training match against the Sharks as part of their training camp, which will be followed by two warm-up matches against the Southern Kings in Namibia over the next two weeks.
The first match takes place at the Hage Geingob National Rugby Stadium next Saturday at 16h30 and will serve as a curtain raiser to the Premier League club final at 19h00.
The second encounter against the Southern Kings will be held in Walvis Bay on 7 September.
Namibia's 38-man squad includes all their foreign-based players for the first time this year. These include prop Aranos Coetzee from the Free State Cheetahs; hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld and eighthman PJ van Lill from French Premier League club Bayonne; lock Tjiuee Uanivi from French first league club Massy; loose forwards Renaldo Bothma from English Premier League club Harlequins and Janco Venter from England first division club, Jersey; fly half Helarius Kisting from Romanian first division club Baia Mare; and wing Lesley Klim from Welsh Pro 14 club Ospreys.
Several other players from South African universities or rugby academies are also included like prop Nelius Theron, hooker Louis van der Westhuizen, lock Johan Retief, loose forward Wian Conradie, scrum half Damian Stevens and centre Justin Newman.
The Kaizen squad members will provide stiff competition for places before the final World Cup squad is selected as they have all played for the Welwitschias before, while some like hooker Niel van Vuuren, lock Mahepisa Tjeriko and wing backs Gino Wilson, Janry du Toit and Russel van Wyk have also represented the national team.
The Durban squad is as follows:
Props: Andre Rademeyer, Nelius Theron, Casper Viviers, Desiderius Sethie, AJ de Klerk and Aranos Coetzee.
Hookers: Obert Nortje, Louis van der Westhuizen and Torsten van Jaarsveld.
Locks: Tjiuee Uanivi, Ruan Ludick and Johan Retief.
Loose forwards: Thomasau Forbes, Max Katjijeko, Renaldo Bothma, Prince Gaoseb, Wian Conradie, PJ van Lill, Adriaan Booysen, Janco Venter and Rohan Kitshoff.
Scrum halves: Eugene Jantjies, Damian Stevens, JC Winkler.
Fly halves: Cliven Loubser, PW Steenkamp and Helarius Kisting.
Centres: Darryl de la Harpe, Justin Newman and Johan Deysel.
Wings: Johan Tromp, Lesley Klim, JC Greyling, Oderich Mouton, Dumarcho Hartung and PJ Walters.
Fullbacks: Chrysander Botha and Chad Plato.
The Kaizen group is as follows:
Props: Simon Kanime, Jason Benade, Neil van Vuuren and Graham April.
Lock forwards: Mahepisa Tjeriko and Adriaan Ludick.
Loose forward: Thomas Kali.
Wings: Gino Wilson, Russel van Wyk, Mahco Prinsloo and Janry du Toit.